THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The UDF decision to have a total liquor ban in ten years, if implemented, will also mean that the State Government must devise ways and means to fill a revenue gap that runs into not one or two, but thousands of crores.
The Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco), the state-run monopoly on liquor sales, runs 338 liquor shops in all in the state at the moment. Of them, seven are lying closed. In 2013-14, Bevco’s contribution to the state exchequer - by way of licence fee, sales tax, gallonage fee and excise duty - was approximately Rs 7600 crore.
That year, the total liquor sales of Bevco - brandy, whisky, rum, beer, wine and vodka included - stood at a stunning Rs 9351 crore.
In daily terms, the last-mentioned figure means that Bevco is selling liquor worth a little over Rs 25 crore every day in the state. In the beginning, Bevco’s contribution to the state exchequer was just Rs 25.63 crore, show Bevco figures. That was in 1984-85.
On Thursday, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, briefing the media on UDF decisions, said that the government would close down ten per cent of Bevco outlets every year.
He had also said that the government would not let revenue from liquor stand in the way of closing down Bevco outlets.